PART I - THE NEW IOTA GROUP
The Year 2000 wasn't only a
point of turn in the Millenium and the beginning of a new Century, but also the year I returned
from East-Timor and tried to get my life back to its normal western standards, I wasn't
really forseen any close DX'pedition that I could join and indeed the huge and crazy 4W6EB
pile-ups were still in my mind.
A couple of years earlier I remembered changing some ideas with Roger Balister G3KMA on how unfare was to have only 2 IOTA Groups in the Azores and that for historic reasons there should be at least 3, we had a long talk at it in a IOTA Convention in Alicante and five of us (CU3EJ, CT1CJJ, CT1ZW, CT1EEN and me) gave Roger all material required to backup our claims.
In early June 2000 I was
kind of getting used to my quiet job at school-teaching when Julio CT1ZW phoned me
enquiring if I had received the new IOTA Directory, I HAD NOT, it looked like,
for my surprise, that an unnumbered group from the Azores had been introduced,
the Central Group, our efforts were, at last, rewarded (Thanks
Roger and Martin)!
Half an hour later the phone ringed again, Julio CT1ZW was back, saying that Leonel CU3EJ invited us to go to "Ilha Terceira" in the Central Group for the first transmitions ever with the new IOTA reference, he also mentioned that he had booked us both in the next day flight to the Islands.
At the speed of light I found myself back in the Dx'pedition trail again, Hi !
Photos show Leonel CU3EJ making the first QSO from the new group with Roger G3KMA (getting EU-175 as a ref. for the Central Group) and the Team (L to R): Leonel CU3EJ, Orlando CU3AD, José CU3/CT1EEB and Júlio CU3/CT1ZW.
All in all we made over 4000 QSOs for a start and learned much about this beautiful Island and the great people that live there.
Our gratitude goes to Leonel CU3EJ and Orlando CU3AD for the invitation and hospitality, to Angraflor, the Azores DX Group and the Northern Portugal DX Group for sponsoring this operation.
PART II - BACK THERE AGAIN. :)
The first trip to Terceira Island in June got me curious about what the other Islands looked like, I had some holidays coming to me in the end of July and so I headed back to Central Atlantic.
To begin with, I have to
say that there are several ways to travel between islands, nevertheless I got the hardest
I was never a great sailor and often I get seasick (I made my military service in the Air Force not in the Navy) but when I saw the "Lady of Mann" docked in the harbour I tought it was quite impossible to get seasick in such a big Ferryboat...
Photo shows I was wrong and I felt really bad in the first 3 hours of high seas, I really hate boats !!!
Anyway, I was ready to go and got my DX'pedition pack complete with a Kenwood TS-50, 1 Delta-loop for 17m. and a 15m. Dipole, Leonel CU3EJ kindly borrowed me one of his power-supplies.
After a couple stops in Graciosa
and St. Jorge I finally arrived at my first radio spot, the Island of Faial.
Upon arrival, Altino CU7AA (the well known Faial DXer), drived me to the hotel and kindly provided for the instalation of the antennas in the roof, in a few hours CU7/CT1EEB was in-the-air.
In between the Hotel
Radio-shack and Altino's station over 700 QSO's were made in 2 days, Faial is a very nice
place and the stay went very smooth, good food and good life to forget the seasickness!
From Faial I departed to
St. Jorge Island.
In the distance St. Jorge looks very much like a large tall mountain rising from the Atlantic, from my first experience there I knew that staying in one of the guest-houses in the capital "Velas" wasn't a good idea, kind of hard to get the antennas up !
So I got booked in a "Rural Hostel" in the top of the hill...!
Once again proved a CT1EEB bad plan, up in the Island top theres a kind of eternal Fog, the house itself had no Electrical power, nevertheless I had a small 750 watt generator (barelly enough for the radio), no fuel stations around (I had actually asked the guy that rented me the place if he could provide a spare can of petrol, he said OK, but he never showed up !), no suitable trees around to hang the antennas, only rock and cows.
CU5/CT1EEB got in the air, saving all generator petrol for the radio and logging with an oldtimers petrol light, the generator worked for 5 hours and then QRT, NO radio, NO light, only a spooky darkness and the sound of crazy cows again !
Following day, in what seemed to be the Island best tradition, the taxi I had arranged to pick me up and drive back to the boat didn't show up, so, I had to walk all the way down to the harbour just in time to catch the ferry.
The stay in "Casa da Serroa" was a experience to forget, not suitable for HAMs.
But the story wasn't over, Leonel CU3EJ, organized a surprise DX'pedition to "Ilhéu da Praia" in CU4-land for early next morning, party time again! :)
"Ilhéu da Praia"
is 3 hours away from Terceira in a fast boat, all OK as fast boats cut the waves
very fast and no seasickness.
Unfortunatelly the engine broke in between the two Islands, the boat started rolling and the seasickness as well... the great feeling was back !
Eventually we did get to the Islet to find the only two permanent citizens of
Praia, two very young Biologists (a Portuguese and a Scottish) that were living there
for the past 3 months.
Not used to see many "Humans" they did fix my seasick feeling with a nice tea.
They were actually happy to see us and allowed to setup the station in the local kitchen (see the photo), antenna setup was OK as far as we didn't bother the matting birds.
The CU4 Ilhéu da Praia Team
(The girls were happy to photograph the Humans for a change after 3 months of looking at birds)
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